Phi Beta Cons

Peter Wood on Obama’s ‘Supersizing’ Higher-Ed Agenda

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, has an insightful piece here on Obama’s mania for putting more and more young Americans through college.

Currently, the U.S. is 16th in that regard (although the numbers are rather fuzzy) and Obama declares that being 16th is not acceptable — we’ve got to be first! But Wood demonstrates that there is no connection between where a nation stands in that regard and its economic success; some countries with higher percentages than ours are economically feeble (e.g. Russia) and others with lower percentages than ours are strong (e.g. Switzerland).

What truly correlates with economic success is not how many people get college credentials, but the degree of economic freedom in a country. Hong Kong isn’t prosperous because a large percentage of its citizens get college degrees. It’s prosperous because the government doesn’t meddle in the economy. In the Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong has been No. 1 for a long time. In that same index, the U.S. has been falling for years, and is now No. 10.

Too bad that Obama isn’t determined to elevate the U.S. to No. 1 in that respect.

The way things are going, we will end up like Russia, with a very high percentage of the population holding college credentials, but working in a nation that is hobbled by countless rules, favoritism (crony capitalism), and high taxes on success

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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